By bizjournals.com
updated 9/7/2005 6:06:57 PM ET 2005-09-07T22:06:57

As the unprecedented scope of Hurricane Katrina's devastation becomes more apparent every day, companies, foundations and agencies from around the country are rolling out relief efforts large and small.

One Memphis company is donating apartments in the area to help house the estimated 10,000 evacuees there. Circle K convenience stores will sell bracelets and donate the proceeds to hurricane relief starting Sept. 13, while some  restaurants and other businesses in Annapolis, Md., are donating half their proceeds from one night to relief organizations.

In Tennessee, Gov. Phil Bredesen has suspended several state laws to help expedite relief efforts, mainly in the medical regulation area, the Memphis Business Journal reports. In Memphis, now home to some 10,000 hurricane victims with more possibly on the way, The Lightstone Group is offering 50 apartments to evacuees, rent-free for six months. Vanderbilt LifeFlight of Nashville has sent a helicopter and medical team to Mississippi to help in recovery efforts there, the Nashville Business Journal reports.

The Northern Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau is coordinating the donation of about 800 hotel rooms for families displaced by the hurricane. In the Cincinnati area alone, donations had topped $2.5 million Wednesday. About 1,000 refugees were expected to arrive in Ohio this week.

In Birmingham, Ala., a local staffing company will host a job fair Thursday for evacuees looking for part-time work. And in Memphis, another job fair is on the way for health care workers displaced by Katrina. In North Carolina, where about 2,000 refugees are being sheltered, the Employment Security Commission is setting up shop at evacuation centers in Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro.

Kentucky-connected companies are organizing fund-raisers at restaurants and a jazz festival fund-raiser, and donating communications technology to damaged businesses along the Gulf Coast, Business First of Louisville reports.

Help is coming from as far away as Arizona, which is taking in evacuees, to Oregon, where the state is helping to coordinate donations.

From the Twin Cities, Hugh Parmer, president of the American Refugee Committee, is serving as a senior adviser to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop a plan for relocating Hurricane Katrina evacuees, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports.

"Every day at ARC we provide relief to thousands of displaced people around the world," Parmer said in a statement. "I hope that my experience in dealing with international refugee crises will be helpful in bringing relief to my fellow Americans in the wake of this terrible disaster."

Across the nation, states and the federal government are calling on health care workers to volunteer to help Hurricane Katrina's victims. Among the agencies recruiting health care volunteers were those as far away as the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

"The outpouring of support from health professionals who want to volunteer for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts has been tremendous," Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Calvin Johnson said.

In the Houston area, where about 150,000 refugees have taken shelter, business leaders are banding together to provide support and relief. Local government officials have convinced a group of business leaders to run a newly formed non-profit devoted solely to helping Katrina victims, the Houston Business Journal reports. Retired ExxonMobil Production Co. President Terry Koonce will be president.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called on health officials in his state to come up with a plan for addressing health care for the thousands of people who have flooded into the Lone Star State as a result of Katrina.

"As Texas manages the needs of an unprecedented number of evacuees, it is clear that one of our chief concerns must be meeting the short-term and long-term health care needs of those with special needs, including children with disabilities and the frail and the elderly," Perry said. The state of Texas also is helping to process Louisiana unemployment benefits.

Clear Channel, Entercom Communications Corp., and two independently owned radio station groups have banded together to form the United Broadcasters of New Orleans — 15 stations that have combined programming and engineering resources to assist in the relief effort, the San Antonio Business Journal reports. Clear Channel owns seven stations in New Orleans, while Entercom owns six.

"Given the state of New Orleans, we believe it is critical for the community to have the most current and accurate information available," Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan said. "By coming together and pooling our resources we will be able to provide the community with news, updates and a connection with the outside world."

In Texas, Time Warner Cable has set up digital phone and cable television service and equipment, as well as high-speed Internet access and computers at refugee centers. Time Warner is also providing FEMA access to its network in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, the Austin Business Journal reports.

More than $500 million has been donated since Katrina hit, about double the amount given during the same period following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Newark Star-Ledger reported Wednesday. Corporations including Federated Department Stores and Wal-Mart have been among the big donors. The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation has donated $1 million to the American Red Cross. The foundation is supported by magazines, newspapers and American City Business Journals, owned by the Newhouse family.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 5.04%
$30K home equity loan FICO 5.67%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.96%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 13.42%
13.42%
Cash Back Cards 17.94%
17.94%
Rewards Cards 17.15%
17.15%
Source: Bankrate.com